The Free Territory of Nestor Machno – an anarchist anti-state

Lecture by Dmytro Stasiuk

The Free Territory is an unofficial name of the autonomous area existing in the lands of southern Ukraine between 1918 and 1921. It was not a state, because its main protagonist, the anarchist Nestor Makhno, and his companions refused to form the state, and promoted the idea of a society free from hierarchically organized power. The civil war that began in Russia after the October Revolution, the hostility of the Bolsheviks and the Whites, as well as the continuous marches of troops, hindered the foundation of autonomous political and economic structures in the Free Territory, hence contributing to his fall. Despite this, the history of this anarchist experiment, ignored by many official historians, provides valuable knowledge about the methods of establishing alternative political formations.

Dmytro Stasiuk is a Ukrainian historian and cultural expert. He works at the Central State Archive of CinePhotoPhono in Kiev. His interests focus on the history and historiography of the Ukrainian anarchist movement and the cultural constructions of utopian projects. Recently, he has lectured many Ukrainian cities on the subject of Nestor Makhno and the Free Territory